A Billericay school closes for 2-week "firebreak" as there aren't enough teachers

Mayflower High School sign

Article by Hannah Brown: A secondary school in Essex has been forced to close for a 14-day "firebreak" as it does not have enough staff to keep it running.

The Mayflower High School closed its doors today (November 26) after being hit by what it describes as an "exponential" rise in staff absences due to the need to self-isolate. The site will be undergoing a "thorough cleaning" before it reopens again on December 10.

In a letter written to parents and guardians yesterday, head teacher Lee Brumby explained how there just aren't enough staff available to "provide a safe environment" for students because of track and trace obligations.

The school will undergo a deep clean whilst it is closed. He said:

“We have been coming under increasing pressure with relation to staffing levels. Over the course of the last two weeks, the number of absent staff has risen exponentially. During this period of time, we have been trying to cover as much of this absence with supply staff, albeit that this comes at a cost. This week, the number of absent staff has jumped considerably, with over half of those being teachers. The majority of these new absences have been brought about by notifications of the need to self-isolate. The current level of staffing available is not sufficient to provide a safe environment for the whole school. We have a duty of care for the safety and well-being of all our students and staff. Following discussions with representatives from Public Health England and Essex County Council, we have taken the decision to temporarily close Mayflower High School.”

Mr Brumby added that the proposed pre-public examinations (PPEs) due to be taken by Year 11 pupils, which were scheduled to start on November 30, will be postponed.

He also detailed a contingency plan that had been prepared for the school closure, detailing work for each year group.

Mr Brumby also said that provision will be made for all children entitled to a free school meal and said that a system of welfare checks will be put in place. He added:

“Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of all staff and students during this very difficult and stressful time for us all.”

Article by Hannah Brown, EssexLive